5:45pm in the “City of 333 Saints”

February 3, 2013 - TIMBUKTU, Mali

The afternoon sun is low in the sky, and the clouds and trees reflect in the glass-still water of a canal linking the city to the Niger River, which spans the length of West Africa. In a sky that dwarfs the sandy shores, bruise-dark clouds suggest a far-off storm. In the distance the sounds of children playing, drums beating, and birds chirping convey a peacefulness that is also a deep sigh of relief. For ten months, Timbuktu’s few remaining residents cowered in their houses. Music was banned. When they did venture outside, people hurried silently about their business, fearful of/ Read on.

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The American Scholar publishes my latest long piece: Latakia Province, Syria

An account of my visit to Jebel Akrad in Latakia Province (The American Scholar, January 2013). Some say the war will end here, not in Aleppo or Damascus. Once a place where different faiths and sects – Sunni, Alawi, Shia, Christian – lived side by side, now Latakia province becomes a series of ghost towns as the rebels move forward/ Read on.

Welcome to Aleppo

October 1, 2012 - ALEPPO, Syria

We arrived at the Dar Shifa hospital at 4:06pm. The afternoon bore a particular Aleppo overcast: a sheen of haze from the burning trash piles and dust rising from rubble, towers of smoke rising from recent shelling in the horizon. By 4:09 three civilian cars had screeched to a stop outside the hospital to unload injured men, moaning and bleeding from shrapnel and bullet wounds. At 4:10 a man stood out front, brandishing a severed foot, its shredded tendons dangling over the intact trainer. The foot mesmerized us, to the extent I didn’t notice another car careening up behind me,/ Read on.

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Friends of Anton goes live: the front line meets Christie’s NYC

When: May, TBD Where: Christie’s Auction House, NYC When James Foley, Manu Brabo and I were released last May, we brought with us the tragic news that Anton Hammerl was not alive and well as his family had been told by the Libyan regime, but in fact had been gunned down by Qaddafi’s soldiers on 5 april, the day the/ Read on.

Salloum to Benghazi

In the morning at the Egyptian side of the border, things are remarkably calm after the chaos of last night (thousands of vehicles, hundreds of Egyptian army officials).  We show our passports and press cards a few times and are waved through to passport control.  At least one hundred Thai and Filipino guest workers departing Libya for Egypt have colonized the departure hall.  Some have been here for 72 hours.  They have blankets and food, and sit passively amidst piles of garbage – milk containers, plastic bags, cigarette butts, and dirty papers – that have accumulated on the floor.  I/ Read on.

Salloum to Benghazi

Medical aid convoy to Libya – ride-along

24 feb 2011 Cairo – Marsa Matrouh – Salloum When the news broke last week of Qaddafi’s massacre of civilian protesters in Benghazi and surrounding areas, it served as a chilling reminder that the region’s most notorious eccentric is also a ruthless suppressor of dissent. Many in Egypt, energized by the success of their peaceful ouster of former Pres. Mubarak, determined to do something to help the Libyan people.  Three men in particular used all the resources at their disposal to start organizing aid convoys to deliver supplies to Libya.  They have sent several separate convoys so far, and today/ Read on.